Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Keeping Your New Year's Resolution

Here are some tips to help you succeed at reaching your goals. 1) Assess where you are now and where you want to be in five years. 2) Set realistic goals and choose 4-8 not 20-30 different things. Make your goals achievable. 3) Set a deadline and don't procrastinate. Make various targets that you can achieve along the way. Use the ladder approach so your goals are broken up. 4) Get a resolution buddy or a trainer to help keep you accountable. Even if you can only see a trainer once a week for a workout and a weight in, it will keep you from backsliding. 5) Visualize for 3-5 minuets a day and see yourself where you want to be. Studies have show how the mind can't distinguish between real and imaged memories. ( This may be the biggest bang or secret for your success) 6) Set a measurable place where you want to be in three months. Three months is a long enough time frame to see results or make adjustments that may be needed. Finally, after you get ready in the morning, smile in the mirror. Tell yourself, This is going to be a good day and I have what it takes to get where I want to go. All these steps may sound easy or unimpressive. Put them together and give it a few months. What do you have to lose? (No pun intended)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Fat Free Equals Fat Gain

Many people are now trying to lose a few pounds for a good New Year's start. You may think of buying a few items that are fat free to help get the scale moving in the right direction. Here are a few examples of why that's often a bad idea. Two tablespoons of peanut butter are 191 calories but a reduced fat alternative is still 186 calories.( Not much of a help) A 1/2 cup of regular granola is a whopping 257 calories and so is its reduced fat partner at 237. Fig newtons are only 180 calories a serving but non fat newtons are 210 calories for the same amount. ( That was a surprise to me)
The main problem is, when they take out fat they add sugar, flour or some fake stuff that may be worse that the fat they replace. In addition some people eat more of non fat items thinking they are eating lower calorie. As you see by my examples, this can result in weight gain not weight loss.
When it comes to sweets, look at labels and watch your portion size. You may want to try fruit or even frozen grapes or other fruit to help slow you down a bit. Remember you need to take in fewer calories than you burn to lose weight. A few sweets a the end of the day can turn a day that would of been a win and turn it into another day of stagnation or even weight gain.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Burn Fat and Stay Motivated

People often ask me, what's the best way to burn fat. A few thing may help your chances of success in fat burning and therefore successful weight loss. In general you need to add weights to your cardio if that's all you do. Add cardio to your weight program if that's all you do. Weight lifting adds muscle which speeds up your metabolism and working in you target heart zone burns fat. One thing to remember, moderate intensity and longer duration is more effective than a 20 min. sprint when you hit the elliptical, bike or treadmill. Go for about 30 to 45 mins. at a rate where you could carry out a conversation. When you go full out you burn more glycogen (carbs) than fat. After min. 20 you start using fat as an energy source. Fat was initially intended as a slow burning energy source for our hunting ancestors. It takes a while to get it burning.
If your time is limited you may want to try circuit training. Most of my clients workout with a heart monitor which allows for cardio and weight training at the same time. The idea is to get the pulse up first with a 3-5 min. warm up. Perform various sets of weight lifting exercise then return to the cardio machine of your choosing. You can either talk or walk between exercises. One may be more fun but the other burns a lot more fat.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Get Fit for New Years

The best time to get fit has always been the beginning of January. In addition to wanting to lose the additional pounds we put on during the Holidays, the new year always has a clean slate feel to it. In my opinion, the best way to accomplish your goals is to be realistic and take it slowly. Remember a practical weight loss plan is one to two pounds a week. I know we all see the Biggest Loser and want to lose double digits a week but that's TV and we live in the real world.
If you start with a sound and practical plan, there is a better chance you will get where you want to go. One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they cut too many calories all at once. If you start to aggressively, you can slow down your metabolism and you'll be doomed from the start. Never cut more than 500 calories at a time. This is easier to do and much more beneficial in the long run. The best piece of advice is to get a book on food calorie counts. If you learn how many calories are in the foods you eat you will start making better choices.
As far as exercise, a good place to start is two days of weights and one day of walking or cardio. You want to increase your metabolism as you tone the muscles and this will help in both areas.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Water, Health and Weight Loss

Sweating is your bodies cooling mechanism. When you exercise intensely, you can lose two quarts of water in one hour. To determine how much water you need to drink during and after exercise, weigh yourself after exercise. For every pound lost during exercise, you need to replace with two cups of water.
Symptoms of dehydration are dry mouth, cramping, headaches and muscle fatigue. When the body becomes dehydrated our total blood volume is decreased, due to a loss of fluid lost through sweating. Since blood plasma is mostly made up of water, the oxygen carrying capability of our blood is decreased causing our working muscles and organs to be deprived of oxygen. Sometimes when we are feeling fatigued or hungry a glass of water is all that's needed to improve physical performance and curb the appetite. The color of urine can also be an indicator of dehydration. If it is dark or cloudy you need to drink more water.
To prevent dehydration, follow these guidelines
1. Drink a cup of water one half hour before exercise.
2. Drink fluid every 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Don't wait until you're thirsty. At this point, you have already become dehydrated.
4. Drink cool fluids because they absorb into the bloodstream faster than warm or ice-cold fluids.
Water is the beverage of choice for healthy people. Sweetened drinks such as soda and iced tea do not have the same effect as water. Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics. They signal the kidneys to release water into the urine. If you need that morning cup of coffee to get your engine going, drink water as well. Drink water consistently throughout the day. A home water filtration
can give you all the pure water you need for a fraction of the cost of bottled water.
Drinking water on a daily basis will help you with many important areas. By maintaining the proper level of water each day, you give your body the best chance to fight disease, eliminate stress and maintain focus. In addition, drinking enough water can boost
your concentration and keep you from overeating. It helps to flush out toxins and promotes health.

Eight glasses of water a day is recommended for adequate hydration.
If you fall short of the mark it's okay. You can consume water
through your diet by eating fruits such as watermelon, peaches,
oranges and grapes.

Monday, October 18, 2010

An Easy Way to Lose Weight- Add Fiber

A recent study is The Journal Of Nutrition states that by increasing your fiber intake from 16 grams to 25 grams per day could help you lose 10 lbs. a year. Increase this to 35 grams a day and you could lose over 15 lbs. a year. Another quick fix is to have oatmeal for breakfast which has been shown to help reduce hunger cravings for lunch. One thing to remember, if you want to put on muscle. Oatmeal is mostly carbs. so add a scoop of protein powder.
Although you can get fiber in supplements it is best to get them naturally in food. If you start looking at labels you will find there are many places you might not of realized. Raw fruits and veggies are also great place to increase your daily allotment of fiber.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Am I Getting Enough Protein

If you ask a dietitian or go by the RDA you may of heard you need about 50 grams of protein a day. As a life long weight lifter and personal fitness trainer this has always irked me. Novice weight lifters learns early in the game, you need extra protein if you want to build muscle. There are a few ways to calculate this. The conservative estimate is .5 grams times your body weight. This would be about 75 grams for a 150 lbs. person. The most common viewpoint is .75 - 1.5 gram per lb. which would be a whopping 112 - 150 grams. The most important thing you can learn from this is, going low fat for breakfast can often ruin your chances for muscle gain and fat loss. A bowl of grape nuts or shredded wheat and you're shooting yourself in the foot. Most people who try to get fit, skip the bacon and eggs. They switch to low fat choices that often exclude protein.
For muscle growth, the most important thing to remember is... you need a minimum of 30-40 grams of protein per meal. For a woman this makes three meals close to all you need. A man who is lifting and serious should have a few protein shakes or protein snacks between meals.
A few suggestions for breakfast (because lunch and dinner a pretty easy) would be cottage cheese with fruit, oatmeal with a scoop of protein powder or egg beaters.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Make Your Waist Look Smaller

One of the best ways to avoid looking fat around the middle is to hold your stomach in. The act of doing this is actually as isometric exercise and its a good way to tone a variety of muscles. One of the problems in doing this is feeling bloated. The last thing you will want to do when you feel bloated is to suck in your gut. One of the best ways to eliminate this feeling is to eliminate salty foods. This includes but is not limited to olives, salted nuts/pretzels, soups, pickles and even many dairy products.
Also eating many white flour foods, large meals and simple carbs tends to increase the production of insulin. This in turn reduces the body's ability to excrete sodium. Exercise can help reduce sodium levels which is way you may of noticed that sweat is salty. This is accomplished by helping the lymphatic system reduce fluid from the tissues. Dehydration on the other hand, is caused by lack of fluids or excess alcohol. This will make the body preserve extra fluid. You can actually get rid of excess water (or bloating ) by drinking extra water. Potassium and magnesium also help regulate body fluids. You may want to help yourself to some cantaloupe and bananas or try a vitamin supplement.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Six Pack Abs ?

Most people just want a flat stomach. Some more advanced want what is called a six pack( or the definition that separates the abdominal muscles.) Both are achieved the same way and it isn't sit ups. The first thing is diet. You need to burn more than you eat. This is usually the biggest problem. All the common sense choices apply . Avoid desserts, stick to lean protein, avoid starch (rice, bread, pasta and even corn), and eat several small meals not one big and two small.
The second is more cardio. If you don't do any walking or stationary machines...start. You need to get you heart rate up for 30 mins. at a time and you need to do this several times a week. This will not only help you burn more calories but it will also rev up your metabolism.
The third is crunches not sit ups. Sit ups work the hip flexors more than the abs. Crunches are done with less range of motion and more concentration. Lay on your back with your knees bent. Reach over you knees until your shoulder blades come off the ground. You should feel this in the upper stomach not the back. When you have this down, try the same thing with your feet up in an L position. This works the lower abs more than the upper.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Eating Too Little Can Make You Gain Weight

What most people find in conventional diets are quick weight loss followed by an eventual plateau. What also unfortunate may follow is weight gain. The reason for this is something called starvation mode efficiency. The body reacts to a sudden calorie deficit by slowing its metabolism down. This has been done over the centuries as a survival mechanism. The body begins to conserve energy and store fat as it sees that calories have become scarce. If you were used to 2500 calories and then go down to 1500 you will initially lose weight. The body in time will learn make that 1500 a set point to maintain body weight. For additional weight loss you will need to cut the 1500 down to 1200 or even 1000 calories a day.
For most people, after a few weeks of starving yourself, the willpower will wane. After you went to 1500 calories you may start to inch up to 1700 or 2000 calories a day. The upshot is, what used to make you maintain weight will now make you gain weight.
The simple answer is never cut your calories by more than 500 at a time. Slow weight loss can be permanent weight loss. Quick weight loss is usually followed by quick weight gain.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Burn More Calories and Have Some Fun

If you want to improve your balance and at the same time increase your strength, the Bosu Ball is the answer. To keep my certification current I recently became certified as a Bosu Instructor. What I learned has become invaluable to not only my older clients but also to my most fit devotees. The thing I like best, is all that all the exercises can be done with various degrees of difficulty. You can do almost all the traditional exercises while standing (one or two feet) or while kneeling (one food up or two feet up). What you wind up doing is working the core and your balance in addition to the muscle you would be working anyway. For those of you who may not know. The Bosu Ball is a half dome ball that you can stand on. It has air in the middle and stands about 12" high and is 2 feet in diameter. If you don't have much room for equipment and want to workout at home, this is a good way to go. If you already know proper exercise form, try the same things but standing on the Bosu. If you want to take it up a notch, take a few lesson from a Bosu Certified Instructor. You'll be pleasantly surprised how much you like it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Atkins, Zone, Jenny or Common Sence

There is one thing that all the major diet programs have in common. They all restrict calories. There is no magic eating program. If you need some structure to get going, it may be a good thing to give one of the above a try. When you first begin most diet programs there is an incubation period. This means it takes a little time before the body switches from fat storing to fat burning. Unfortunately most people are inpatient and want immediate results.
What you get with any of the major diet plans are quick results. In the first few weeks you will usually drop noticeable weight. What you get as a byproduct is usually some muscle loss. Fat will not be the only thing you will lose when you step on the scale. It's not fair but muscle burns more easily than fat.
If you want to lose fat and can hang in there for the long haul, take your time and eat smart. Most people know what to eat and what to avoid even if there are some sneaky exceptions. One thing to avoid however is starch based carbs. (bread, pasta, white potatoes, rice etc.) You can have starch but scale down the portion sizes. What you need to do is concentrate on water based carbs. (fruits and veggies) and lean protein and keep up your activity.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Will Sit Ups Give You a Flat Stomach

For years people have asked me for an abdominal routine to make their stomach flat. There are also countless women who want a magic exercise for a smaller butt and thighs. The sad truth is, there are no exercises to make anything smaller. You can encourage muscle growth to make your arms bigger. You can tone up your abs or thighs, but you can't spot reduce any body part. Some people spend a half hour on crunches and can actually increase their waist size. ( They wind up building muscle under the fat they're trying to lose)
Trainers may differ on their approach to fitness but most everyone agrees that the best way to decrease a fat body part is a combination of cardio and nutrition. It is important to include weight training but not for melting away a keg and turning it into a six pack.
If you want to get the best use out of a half hour, try 5 minutes (with a variety of crunches) after 25 minutes of cardio. Even better yet wear a heart monitor and stay in your target heart zone for a half hour while including your ab routine during your aerobics.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How To Improve Balance

Most people first begin an exercise program to look better or to lose weight. The things that you improve first, some may find surprising. Along with increased energy, better sleep and a better attitude, you can also improve your balance. A good trainer will do a variety of exercise that you may see others doing in a gym, but will a balance challenge. What this entails is performing an exercise while standing on one foot or while seated on a Swiss Ball. You can also try to do some of the good old standards (curls, lateral raises or d/b presses) while standing on a Bosu Ball. This is one of my favorites. This devise is a half dome ball that can add variety and intensity to almost any routine. The idea is to challenge the body now and force adaptation so as we age we don't find, "We fallen and we can't get up".
What is very encouraging is how quickly people can improve. In under three weeks I have introduced a balance challenge routine to a lady I work with over 70. Things that she didn't even want to attempt before are now a breeze. The best thing is its fun. Any time you can put exercise and fun in the same sentence, its a good thing.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cardio vs Free Weights - What's Better

If your main objective is to burn calories or fat, what's the best way to go? As I tell people, if you want to burn fat, keep your heart rate up for over 20 minutes. The first 19 minutes in your target heart zone (optimum heart rate intensity) you burn mainly refined carbs. After minute 20 you start using fat as an energy source. So cardio is a proven fat burner and the objective is to go longer for a sustained period of time.
Free weights on the other hand burns calories in the short run, but not necessarily fat. Weight training does however build muscle. This in turn will rev up your metabolism and create a calorie deficit. When it comes to weight loss, improved body composition and better definition it all comes down to one thing. You need to burn off more than you take in. If you put on ten lbs. of muscle you will increase your metabolism buy 300 to 500 calories a day. This means that you can eat the same (hopefully better) and lose weight. The key to putting on 10 lbs of muscle is to keep changing what you lift and the way you lift it.
So the answer to the questions is : They both are important. You can do both if you have time or try circuit training like we do with a heart monitor. Just keep the heart rate up while you do the weight training. It also make the time fly !

Monday, August 9, 2010

How Much Time Do I Need To Exercise

As the old saying goes, "A little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing". If you don't have an hour, sometimes 10 or 15 minuets will do. If you want to lose weight the best prescription is three to five times per week for about 30-45 minutes. Unfortunately that may be difficult for most people with busy schedules. Luckily you can actually have better results when you combine a little exercise with proper eating habits. Remember you can burn 300-600 calories in an hour and you can negate that with three fattening mouthfuls.
If you want to get started with some quick results, try a 10-15 min walk after lunch. This does two things. First is the walk, second is the fact you'll eat smarted just knowing the walk is coming. After this becomes a habit (which is important), try to do some strength training. You can buy a pair of dumb bells and do a quick routine in 10 or 15 minuets when you're pressed for time. Make sure you use good form and make sure the weights are appropriate for the exercise. ( I use over 200 lbs. for some exercises and 5 lbs. for others). We offer a three session package that teaches you how to do a dumb bell routine in no time at all. Call 818-248-0170 for details

Friday, August 6, 2010

What To Eat To Lose Weight

One of the biggest concerns with people I work with is weight loss. You can spend some money and go to a nutritionist or a personal trainer. You can try Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers or any of the others weight loss centers or you can just follow some basic advise.
There are three types of food, fat, protein and carbs. Without getting too specific, you want to have all three groups represented in every meal. The best bang for your buck is a book on food calorie counts. For under $10 Corinne Netzer has a book called The Complete Book on Calorie Counts.
Most people have the same thing 80% of the time. Learn the calories and make up that 80% and make sure their productive to weight loss. Look at labels and learn how you're spending your allotment of calories. Is that bag of chips worth it.
One word of advice, don't get too crazy when you start. Never lower your calories by more than 500 at a time. In the long run you'll do better because you won't slow your metabolism down. Its takes less pain and deprivations and its more doable in the process. Another thing you don't want to skip meals (that means breakfast ). You also can have a snack between your three meals and actually make better progress. (a snack is under 100 cals.)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Why A Little Sore May Be A Good Thing

If you want to access if your fitness routine is working, sore muscles are a good indicator. What actually happens is a slight breakdown of muscle tissue due to increased activity. Micro fissions or small muscle tears produces the soreness that along with proper nutrition causes hypertrophy. This is the opposite of atrophy which is what happens in time if you do nothing.
The trick is to just get a "little sore" which promotes growth instead of "hating life sore". The latter is not only unnecessary but counter productive. If you want to make progress and you've been working out you need to keep changing what your doing. The same routine for for too long will stop being productive. One thing Joe Weider (The Godfather of Body Building) got right was muscle confusion. A good trainer will make the necessary changes that will make the progress you want and the variety to make it fun and interesting.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Can Children Benefit From Personal Training ?

If you are wondering if your child is too young for personal training, the following information may help you decide. There are many reasons for getting your child a personal trainer. Some of the most common fall under two major categories. The majority of parents just want their kids to learn the right way to workout and support their efforts with proper eating habits. Tell your spouse, a certain protein bar is worse than a snickers bar, and look out. A friend says the same thing and its OK. Same thing goes with the message from a trainer vs. the message from a parent. The same message may yield a better result.
The other category is improved performance and self confidence. We have helped students improve their times in track and field, and helped them excel in football and even water polo. With most if not all sports, the biggest asset is the mental edge. When a trainer can demonstrate an improved tangible gain in strength or a quicker time in the 40 yard dash, confidence is soon to follow.
Your child may not aspire to play professional football, make the next Olympic team or even play college sports. Most children just want to be good enough to perform at a level that allows them to enjoy the games they play. This alone will usually keep them busy, happy and surrounded by like minded friends that will help shape their maturity and development.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Why Use a Heart Monitor

For the past 20 years, people have come to train with us and the majority have one thing in common. People want to lose fat. With a heart monitor you can see what your pulse rate is by looking at a watch you wear on your wrist. This keeps you in your target heart zone which makes your workout not only safe but more precise and effective. Most people who have never worked out are amazed at how little they need to do to get "aerobic". We find if you don't overdue it, and you don't hate the process, you may actually stick with it.
One reason to work out a little longer is because of the fat burning equation. For the the first 19 mins. in your training zone (220-age x 60%= low/ 220-age x 80=high) you burn mainly carbs that you've eaten (glycogen). After 20 mins. you begin to use fat as an energy source and hense begin fat burning. Think about this next time you stop your cardio at 20 mins.
Don't worry about figuring out your target zone. Every brand comes with a simple chart so you don't need to do any math. Finally you can spend about $40 or $400 and the difference is mainly bells and whistles. The cheaper ones are also easier to set up and get going.

Friday, July 9, 2010

How To Start Your Making Progress

Today I want to address anyone out there with a desire to lose weight. To oversimplify, you need to burn more calories than you consume. If you are already exercising I'll get to you later. For those of you who do little or nothing, here is the good news. The less you are doing, the less you need to do to improve.
First thing I suggest is to start walking. If you want to keep yourself honest, chart or put the minutes you walk on your monthly calender. Don't start with a half hour or more. Start with something doable like 10-15 minutes. The idea is to make 10-15 a habit a few days a week and then increase. If you do too much and hate it, you won't keep the weight off. You can take a walk after dinner or take the pooch for a walk (or an extra walk). The nice thing to remember is you don't only benefit from the calories you burn. After exercise (a walk), your body metabolism is increased. This means even after you stop, your body will continue to burn calories at an accelerated rate. Possibly the biggest plus is the payoff mentally. You will not only feel better (and more empowered), but also think twice when it comes to food decisions.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

How to get fit

My name is Derick Rotunno and I would like to start to share some information on what I do and how I do it. My wife Victoria and I are certified personal trainers and have worked with about a thousand people in the Foothill/Glendale area for the past 20 years. Like most personal trainers we have a studio where you can train, but our facility is private. One trainer and one, two or three clients makes it more productive and less stressful. You don't need to worry if your socks and shorts don't match and you don't need to do your hair.

A major difference as of late, is the integration of in-home training programs. People who used to train two or three times a week, may now only afford one or two sessions. We needed to find a way to show people how to train at home on their own, with or without equipment. People can be shown the right approach, more quickly than you may think.

I will be giving some information I hope someone out there may find usefull in the future.